Coccyx is a sore point!

Judy Grant

Hi Jon,

I came across your website quite by accident. I happened to look up the term "coccyx" on the world wide web, hoping to find medical research as to the causes and possible relief of this perpetual ache in my tailbone, and thankfully found your support site for coccydynia sufferers. What a relief to know that this is a fairly common condition - I thought I was an isolated case! I have had "coccydynia" for over a year now - ever since I gave birth to my son in April 2001. (My pregnancy was normal, without much discomfort other than swollen hands and feet from water retention.) I ended up having a caesarean section after 14 hours of unsuccessful labour - thankfully with an epidural, and was sent home after 3 days with the usual post-partum painkillers and anti-inflammatories. The coccyx pain was barely noticeable initially, and I'm sure the painkillers masked a lot of the ache, but then the pain became steadily worse. I even battled to do the "kegel" exercises to help my pelvic floor recover from the pregnancy however I adopted the "grin-and-bear-it" approach, thinking that my body was still recovering from the birth. This lasted for 12 months until I was practically unable to sit normally.

In desperation I consulted my GP who sent me for X-rays. She showed these to an orthopaedic surgeon who indicated that the pain was caused by a displaced tailbone, ie. the coccygeal vertebra V points off to the left. It is suspected that I displaced the vertebra during labour, although my gynaecologist advised me on my most recent checkup that I may have been born with a misshapen coccyx, which was aggravated by pregnancy and labour. I was given 3 choices for pain relief: buy a doughnut-shaped cushion to relieve the pressure on the area when sitting, have a cortisone injection to relieve the pain - would work for 3/4 months, or have my tailbone removed. The doughnut-shaped foam cushion does help to a certain extent when I'm working on my computer, but I personally find it impractical for driving. (I have been spending a considerable amount of time at my computer lately - sheer agony - hence my visit to your site.) I'm planning to have the cortisone injection into my coccygeal vertebrae as soon as the orthopaedic surgeon can see me. Failing that, I will consider surgery to remove the offending bone! (Problem is, I also teach dancing and experience very little pain or discomfort during this activity.) If I have the surgery, I believe I will have to take it easy for 4 months or so - not much dancing can be done, I'll be unable to drive long distance to see my family in another province, and many other no-no's.

The worst part about this whole issue is that people around you cannot identify with your condition as there are no outward or visible symptoms. I enjoy theatre and movies but dread sitting in a seat for 90 minutes at a stretch. One battles to mask a grimace when shifting to another sitting position, and yes ... tight jeans aggravate the pain. Hard chairs are also preferable to soft, cushioned ones. My husband puts it all down to part of the ageing process, but I'm an otherwise fit, healthy 35-year old.

Best regards,

Judy Grant

Updated 2002-09-08

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